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I’m a committed planner, so much so that I’ve already bought a cemetery plot.
And when it comes to choosing a credit card, my need for planning is no exception.
I am also a minimalist – for a long time I had only one credit card – Discover it® Cash Back.
But when I was planning a trip to Europe, I knew that I would need another credit card because Discover is not as widely accepted there as Visa or Mastercard.
I’ve been shopping.
And I have Chase Freedom Unlimited.
First, I earned a bonus
I got the card a couple of months before my trip and immediately made the $500 purchase needed for the $200 sign up bonus by buying plane tickets through Chase Ultimate Rewards (earn $200 by spending $500 in the first three months), which also earned me 5 percent cashback.
In the meantime, I used the 5% cashback on Lyft rides (offer valid until March 2025), which means I earned 3.5% cashback on top of the standard 1.5% cashback.
I also use this card for all pharmacy purchases to get 3% cashback. And, of course, I get my usual 1.5 percent on everything else I buy.
I have been using DashPass for free for three months and will definitely be using DoorDash 50% off DashPass for the next nine months.
Other things I love about Chase Freedom Unlimited include the lack of refund restrictions. I can redeem my rewards at any time for cashback, gift cards, travel or Amazon.com products; and my rewards never expire as long as my account stays in good shape.
I can also use the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature to use my points for purchases in certain categories and receive a refund using a credit statement.
And for a limited time, I can redeem points for 1.25 cents per point when I donate to eligible charities, which works for me as I regularly donate to the ASPCA.
I don’t mind paying foreign transaction fees
My Chase Freedom Unlimited charges an international transaction fee of 3 percent, but I also planned this – I will use the card in restaurants to receive 3 percent cash (takeaway and related delivery services included), which will essentially “cancel” the fee for a foreign transaction.
The 0 percent starting APR on purchases for the first 15 months my account is open is another attractive feature of Chase Freedom Unlimited (from 17.24% to 25.99% variable APR after that) – though I I rarely keep a balance sheet, it’s nice to know that I could for a while without charging interest.
The variable APR for the card is listed as 17.24 percent to 25.99 percent and due to my credit score of 830 I scored 17.24 percent – late fees up to $40 weren’t an issue as I didn’t get that credit score for overdue account.
The icing on the cake was the absence of an annual fee for the card.
I wanted travel and security benefits
Another reason I chose Chase Freedom Unlimited is because it has a lot of travel-related benefits.
For example, I get car rental damages waiver, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and travel and emergency benefits, all of which can come in handy when traveling in Europe.
I was also drawn to the comprehensive security benefits of zero liability protection, purchase protection and extended warranty, and fraud monitoring.
Finally, a free credit card score and Credit Journey identity recovery sealed the deal.
Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great all-around cash back card with a decent signup bonus and a great APR introductory offer.
I can use it to earn Ultimate Rewards with no annual fee, and I’m even considering pairing it with a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to get more out of these Ultimate Rewards.
The protection and insurances will allow me to travel without worries, and I even have a friend who will line up to receive a card that will give me a $100 referral bonus.
I really couldn’t ask for more from a credit card, except perhaps that it didn’t have those pesky foreign transaction fees.